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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

The diversity we are talking about…

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On the logic of diversity

Variation, diversity is "in". So "in" that it is already politically correct to prescribe it. And at the end what gets ignored? Precisely! Freedom and ultimately diversity again. That now maybe sounds a bit abstract, but ultimately I have repeatedly had the experience that one is not to be trusted, who preaches freedom and diversity and then immediately sets up rules for the"correct" handling of diversity. Diversity and freedom can probably only be as one and not in the "yes, but" mode.

We do not limit ourselves to native plants

“Diversity of plants, yes, but please only native plants! And actually, most foreign plants are anyway ultimately invasive neophytes that can’t grow in this environment and we can’t stop them…that is why they should be banned!” Something like that is what many lines of arguments sound like, although they are politically green and correctly promote diversity, but at the same time, we think we know what the right diversity is. Apart from this, that this overestimation of native plant life emerged in the brown swamp of the 30s, it is a self-limitation that for me is simply "stupid". Why give up good and better, just because it's not from around here? Why not appreciate and accept the whole diversity of nature? And how native are the Douglas trees in our forests, and now we are banning the dessert apples from the fruit bowl just because they are originally from the Caucasus?

We at Lubera want diversity without restrictions, in any case without an upstream filter. In recent years, we have deliberately expanded our focus on edible plants - so-called edibles - and every year we test a dozen more or less unknown species or varieties. But then we do not decide on the sheer sake of diversity, but in order to introduce new varieties that are good, easy to cultivate, that provide us benefits and make us happy. We are not collectors, but hunters; hunters for the good and the better. We are open to everything, but we decide according to our criteria. Some results of this work can be seen in the current 2016 Garden Book under the section Root Crops (Delidahlias, sweet potatoes, oca, chufa). In the past, our work was concentrated on introducing the 'Pointilla', for example. 

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The new diversity of Lubera® apple varieties

In the current debate on diversity, it is often pointed out that apples, for example, almost all newer apple varieties and also the most known market varieties such as 'Golden Delicious', 'Cox Orange' and sometimes also 'Jonathan' stand in the background. As a positive counterexample, reference is then applied to the diversity of old varieties. But is that really the case? Many old varieties are namely the outcome of a selection process that was also pretty simple (and not very diverse); namely that it was aimed at the consumption ratios of the previous centuries. How firm could an apple be that grew in the 17th century when the dental apparatus wasn’t very modern? And how big was the market for fresh fruit and fresh enjoyment when the simplest and cheapest way of conserving fruits was fermenting apples to make apple cider? Varieties were selected that were especially suited for making cider! The discussion concerning the diversity, i.e. for apples, not only underestimates the unifying influence of socio-historical factors, but also the broadness, the diversity of the apple genome itself. In many apple crossings, it is always surprising to me, even after more than 20 years, what nature has to offer us on diversity and what is available concerning broadness. The selection is there, you just have to see it! At Lubera, we are confident that because our breeding approach is garden-oriented and not towards commercial horticulture, we are able to better tap into nature’s diversity and then make varieties perceptible for our customers. The introduction of the 'Redloves' is our best-known example, where we were the first to introduce an entirely different diversity, namely the diversity of flesh colours, into well-known apple genetics – and admittedly with the help of the parents, which trace back to the quality of the donors 'Golden Delicious' and 'Cox Orange' – we have further developed a quality eating apple. We are currently working with special apple shapes of old varieties. We grow ornamental apples/wild apples (our first result is this year’s variety 'Redlove Lollipop') and we use old American varieties from the 18th and 19th centuries in order to achieve completely new fruit characteristics.

Because plants save the world

In the introduction to Stefano Mancuso's and Alessandra Viola's*) book about the intelligence of plants, I was particularly impressed by the test in the preserving jar. Generally, the living world is seen as a type of hierarchy, above the dead matter come the plants, the animals, and finally, as the crown of creation, man. Of course, this way of thinking is quite old-fashioned, but if we are honest, we still think the same way. But if we take the preserving jar, we quickly see that the plants could survive very well without animals and people. Of course, a few fertilisation mechanisms should be changed, but nature offers abundant opportunities to do so. The animals and people on the other hand, the other conclusion, would do not stand a chance without plants! For me, this is reason enough to have an approach with more respect, but also with more of a joy of discovery regarding the diversity of plants and to newly discover plants without being biased for us and for our customers. For those who haven’t noticed: there is nothing else left for us to do other than to save the world. And many of the solutions can be discovered in the world of plants.

If we at Lubera still always think about the plant users at home, then this seems like a pathetically big claim. Of course, it's pretty ridiculous to save the world in the garden! But it would definitely be a mistake not to at least begin there.

*) For those interested in the intelligence of plants read this book by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola: Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence; Island Press (March 12, 2015)

 

 
 
 
 

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